Thank you for coming to the Water Justice Leadership Awards!
Water Justice Leadership award recipients, Jim Maciel, Isabel Arrollo, and Senator Monning, posing with Laurel Firestone.
We wrapped up the day with our fourth annual Water Justice Leadership Awards at the Tequila Museo Mayahuel in Downtown Sacramento. The event honored State Senator Bill Monning, Armona Community Services District Board Member Jim Maciel, and El Quinto Sol de America for all of their work to ensure more equitable communities with access to safe and affordable drinking water. We had a blast! Thank to you everyone who joined us in celebrating the movement for water justice, and a big thank you to our generous sponsors who made this event possible! See pictures from the Awards here.
Adriana will be out of the office until March 19th and won’t have access to phone or email. If you have any questions or need to reach out to someone in the meantime, please reach out to CWC Co-Director Laurel Firestone at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-706-3346.
Welcome to the Community Water Leaders Network, Jose Ornelas!
Jose Ornelas has been a city councilmember for the City of San Joaquin for 3 years and is also a participant in the Water Education for Latino Leaders program. Jose is the President of Ornelas Group Inc. where he serves as an immigration consultant, and prepares legal documents. He graduated from Fresno State and Kaplan University with a degree in Math and Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies. He has lived in the Fresno area for over 25 years and is an active member of his community. Jose was interested in joining the Community Water Leaders Network because he is interested in continuing to learn how to address his community’s water issues and continuing to lead in addressing the health of his community. We are excited to have Jose join the CWLN!
Don’t miss our next Network Briefing: Thursday, March 22nd from 4-5PM
Network “briefings” are monthly conference calls that provide members the opportunity to connect with each other, crowd-source questions, and receive information from the comfort of their own homes. As a reminder, we changed service providers which means, we have a new conference call phone number and passcode. To join, dial (929) 432-4463, when prompted, enter the access code 5254-59-7515 followed by the pound key (#). Let Adriana know if you need a pre-paid calling card in order to call long-distance.
- member updates and questions
- regional & state updates
- monthly discussion topic: preparing for drought and identifying vulnerabilities
Upcoming Community Water Leaders Network events:
1st Roundtable: Representation on Water Boards
Date: Saturday, April 7th 2-4pm
Location: Fresno State, Fresno, CA
At this event, Mindy Romero, Director of the Civic Engagement Project at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change, will be sharing results of a report she authored exploring the representation of Latinxs and women as Directors on water boards as well as exploring Latinx voter turnout in water board elections. Romero’s research will present both statewide results as well as results for the specific counties of Kings, Kern, Fresno, and Tulare. CWC will also be presenting research on uncontested water board elections. Following the research presentations, a small panel of water board directors will share about their perspectives on the topics of inclusion, representation, and importance of community participation in water board elections. Hope to see you there!
2nd Roundtable: How to Run on a Water Board Election
Date: Saturday, April 14th, time TBD
Location: CWC Office, 900 W. Oak Ave. Visalia, CA 93291
This event will focus on the importance and power water boards hold in being able to implement the Human Right to Water in their community and will explain the process of running in a water board election. Participants will leave the event with knowledge of water board director responsibilities and duties, requirements for candidacy, and will better understand the process of applying to run in an election. Participants will be given tools and resources to begin the water board election candidacy process if interested. This is a smaller-scale event and RSVPs will be required.
CWC offering CV SALTS presentations
With funding from a grant from the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), the Community Water Center developed a PowerPoint presentation on the Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long Term Sustainability (CV SALTS). This program addresses nitrate and salinity contamination in groundwater in the Central Valley. The presentation describes the CV SALTS process that shows levels of groundwater contamination, projected future conditions, projects to remediate contamination and the process to implement action to address nitrate and salinity contamination of groundwater. CWC developed presentations both for technical audiences (like water boards) and for the general public. CWC has also prepared Spanish versions of the presentations. We are currently looking for interested groups that would like to have us give this presentation. If your board is interested in learning more about this process, please contact Adriana Renteria.
Regional and State Updates:
East Porterville Water Supply Project
On February 6, the final household connection was completed as part of the East Porterville Water Supply project in response to California’s recent epic drought which disproportionately impacted low income communities of color. This landmark project involved many coordinating agencies, organizations, and contractors to extend reliable water service to 755 properties in East Porterville from the City of Porterville’s municipal water system, including approximately 300 properties whose wells failed during the drought, and many others who may have been at risk of contaminated groundwater. In addition, funds were recently approved to connect more than 80 additional properties located within city limits who still depended on domestic wells. More work is still ongoing to secure the system’s capacity, but thousands of residents now can count on a reliable water supply for their homes! Check out this video from the Department of Water Resources that shares a little more about the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiPYl4c5VxE
Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) Order Adopted
On February 7th, the State Water Resources Control Board held an adoption hearing for the East San Joaquin Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) Order. The ILRP Order sets forth a number of new regulatory requirements for irrigated agriculture to promote best management practices and to protect groundwater quality. One major new addition to the Order is a requirement to create groundwater protection targets. These targets will look at how much nitrates can be added to a crop under specific conditions (ie crop type, soil type, precipitation rates, weather conditions, etc.) and not result in groundwater degradation. While currently these targets will not be enforceable they will provide feedback on what crops in what conditions are likely causing nitrate contamination of groundwater. The Order also requires on-farm domestic well testing and the results must be reported to GeoTracker. The majority of the requirements in this Order are precedential to all other ILRP Orders across the state, requiring all other Orders to be revised within five years.
California Water Fix update:
The California Water Fix, formerly known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, is a project that would build infrastructure to carry water from the Northern Delta to the existing aqueduct system where the State Water Project takes most of its water. In order to update the existing delivery system, a large underground tunnel will be built to get the water from the Sacramento Delta to the pumps that send the water to San Joaquin Valley agriculture and to Southern California. Earlier this month, the Governor announced that the project would be scaled down from two tunnels to one. Water users who will be paying for the expensive project are considering if they want to participate. In the San Joaquin Valley, the water that is brought in through the State Water Project is only used for agriculture. The California Water Fix may make San Joaquin Valley agricultural water somewhat more reliable, but it will not be a big increase in water supply. To read the latest memo from the Department of Water Resources, visit this link: https://www.water.ca.gov/LegacyFiles/docs/DWR%20ltr%20to%20PWAs%20participating%20in%20WaterFix%20Feb%207%202018.pdf
Featured resource of the month
Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs) under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) report and web portal
Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies are required to identify and consider impacts to groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs). In recognizing a lack of available data and information for how to properly address this, The Nature Conservancy created tools so that GSAs can efficiently incorporate and address GDEs in their Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). This month, TNC released a report that gives guidance to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) for how to address groundwater dependent ecosystems in their plans and meet the SGMA requirements. Along with the report, TNC launched a web portal that visually provides an introduction to groundwater dependent ecosystems and shows how they can be affected by excessive groundwater pumping. Visit the web portal at: groundwatercalifornia.org
Access the report at: https://www.scienceforconservation.org/assets/downloads/GDEsUnderSGMA.pdf
Drinking Water Resource Guide for Environmental Justice and Disadvantaged Communities of the Central Valley and Central Coast of California
This month, the State Water Board’s Office of Public Participation released this new educational resource. This bilingual English and Spanish guide is intended to provide citizens with information regarding: common contaminants, testing private wells, funding for safe drinking water, pollution of drinking water in rural communities, and much more. This is a great refresher for water board members and a great resource to be able to share with community members. Access the guide here: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/publications_forms/publications/general/docs/drinking_water_ej_resource_guide.pdf.
Date: February 27. Time 11:30-12:30. What Challenges Do Different Sizes & Types of Systems Face. Location: Online. Cost: Free. For more info: https://calmutuals.org/event/free-webinar-what-challenges-do-different-sizes-types-of-systems-face/
Date: February 27. Time: 11am-12:30. Small Systems Funding. Location: Online. Cost: free. To register: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3552068359475264001
Date: February 22. Time: 10AM-12PM. What You Need to Know about the New Groundwater Management Act. Location: Online. Cost: Free. Register here: https://www.events.rcac.org/assnfe/ev.asp?ID=1246
Date: February 23. Time: 8:30-5PM. Water Foundation Water 101. Location: McGeorge School of Law in Classroom C, 3200 5th Ave, Sacramento, CA, 95817. Cost: $225 + fees. More info: http://www.watereducation.org/foundation-event/water-101-workshop-basics-and-beyond-1
Date: March 5. Time: 6-8PM. AB 54 Webinar— Mutual Water Company training. Location: Online. Cost: $99 for non-Cal Rural Water Association members, $65 for members. More info: https://calruralwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/AB54.2017.COMPLETE.fillable.pdf
Date: March 6. Time: 10AM-12PM. Budgeting. Location: Online. Cost: Free. For more info: https://www.events.rcac.org/assnfe/ev.asp?ID=1251
Date: March 8. Time: 10AM-12PM. Distribution O&M and Math. Location: Online. Cost: Free. Register here: https://www.events.rcac.org/assnfe/ev.asp?ID=1252
Date: March 28. Time 10AM-12PM. Arsenic Remediation. Location: Online. Cost: Free. Register here: https://www.events.rcac.org/assnfe/ev.asp?ID=1254
Date: March 29. Time 10AM-12PM. Financial Management and Rate Setting. Location: Online. Cost: Free. Register here: https://www.events.rcac.org/assnfe/ev.asp?ID=1256
Find more events on our Community Water Leaders online calendar found at http://www.communitywatercenter.org/water_leaders_network.
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Updates:
Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant Draft Awards Announced
On February 6th the Department of Water Resources released their draft recommendations for the Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant proposals. This grant is intended to support the goals of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) by funding projects that directly benefit severely disadvantaged communities and projects to support a Groundwater Sustainability Agency’s development of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). Here’s the breakdown of how the $85.8 million was distributed among 78 grant applications:
- $16.2 million is for severely disadvantaged communities to support groundwater sustainability planning and development.
- $69.6 million is for local agency GSP development.
- $3.4 million is tentatively awarded to three basins. These awards will be held pending a further review of their eligibility.
Comments on the applications are being accepted until February 28th at 5pm. More information can be found here: https://www.water.ca.gov/Work-With-Us/Grants-And-Loans/Sustainable-Groundwater
Community Water Center Receives Award Through the Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) posted a draft recommendation to award CWC $614,353 under Category 1 of the Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant. Our proposal was split up in two projects; the first is to facilitate the participation of severely disadvantaged communities in sustainable groundwater planning efforts through information sharing, workshops, and through co-hosting community meetings to review draft Groundwater Sustainability Plans. CWC will be working with the following Groundwater Sustainability Agencies: East Kaweah, Kaweah Subbasin; Kings River East, Kings Subbasin; Eastern Tule JPA, Lower Tule River ID, and Pixley ID, Tule Subbasin. The second project will involve developing a drinking water vulnerability assessment web tool that groundwater decision makers will be able to utilize to identify communities that are vulnerable to groundwater depletion and extreme climate conditions, identify possible consolidation opportunities, and potential areas for recharge projects. We are looking forward to working with you all to make sure that the drinking water tool is a helpful and effective decision making tool!
Below are some of my updates on SGMA work being done in the Tulare Lake Basin. Please keep in mind that these are my interpretations and they are not flawless. Let me know if you’d like to correct or add any information about the GSA you are participating in!
Below are some of my updates on SGMA work being done in the Tulare Lake Basin. Please keep in mind that these are my interpretations and they are not flawless. Let me know if you’d like to correct or add any information about the GSA you are participating in!
State news: Several new resources have come out over the last few months, here’s an overview:
+Sustainable Groundwater Planning grant: This grant is intended to support the goals of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) by funding projects that directly benefit severely disadvantaged communities and projects to support Groundwater Sustainability Agencies develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). The $85.8 million was distributed among 78 grant applications. Draft recommendations were released on February 7th and the deadline to submit comments on proposals has been extended to February 28th 5pm. More info here
+Groundwater Sustainability Plan initial notification webpage: GSAs are now required to use DWR’s mapping portal to submit their notification that they are starting to work on their Groundwater Sustainability Plans. All GSAs that submitted their notice before the map was created were added to the map. There is an option for stakeholder to post public comments on the way that the planning process is going in their GSA but unfortunately, those posted comments will not be taken into consideration when DWR reviews a GSA’s GSP. Check out the map here
+Final Stakeholder Engagement and Communication Plan Guidance Document: In January, DWR posted final version of this guide intended to help GSAs create their required Stakeholder Engagement and Communication Plans. Read it here. Their guidance document for Engagement With Tribal Governments says final on their webpage but the link send to June 2017 draft.
+Best Management Practice on Sustainable Criteria: DWR hosted three workshops on their BMP on Sustainable Criteria (one in Visalia). This BMP is intended to give GSAs guidance on how to establish criteria like “sustainability goals,” “undesirable results,” “minimum thresholds,” and “measurable objectives” for their GSPs. Still in draft form but you can check it out here. At the Visalia workshop, DWR also announced that they are currently working on 2 addendums to this BMP that would give more guidance to GSAs on how to address groundwater quality and interconnected surface waters.
+Facilitation and Support Services (FSS): DWR is still offering facilitation support to support subbasins through the development of their groundwater sustainability plans (phase 2) with: facilitating meetings, helping stakeholder outreach & education, coordination. High & medium priority basins that apply would most likely receive support. More info here
+The Nature Conservancy’s Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs) under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA): Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies are required to identify and consider impacts to groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs). In recognizing a lack of available data and information for how to properly address this, The Nature Conservancy created tools so that GSAs can efficiently incorporate and address GDEs in their Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). This month, TNC released a report that gives guidance to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) for how to address groundwater dependent ecosystems in their plans and meet the SGMA requirements. Along with the report, TNC launched a web portal that visually provides an introduction to groundwater dependent ecosystems and shows how they can be affected by excessive groundwater pumping. Visit the web portal at: groundwatercalifornia.org Access the report here.
Tulare Lake Basin Regional news: Back in late October there was a 2nd South Valley SGMA Practitioners Roundtable where representatives from each subbasin shared updates on coordination progress, and some on individual GSA progress. Several researchers also shared their research. There will be a 3rd roundtable gathering this end of spring/early summer.
Kings subbasin news: The subbasin is still working to find it’s over-draft amount, right now it’s estimated that the subbasin overdraft is 201-220K acre/feet of overdraft but they will have more accurate numbers in March. The MOU group is working to finalize a dispute resolution agreement and a cost share agreement. They are currently trying to identify water experts that can be called on for help mediating disputes. The Kings Subbasin received $1.5 million from the Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant which will cover the costs of the MOU and give each GSA the remaining 214K.
Kings River East: In January, the GSA held a public hearing and a community outreach meeting to go over their proposed Prop 26 fee, which is intended to cover the cost of the development of their Groundwater Sustainability Plan. The fee proposed to adopt a nominal fee of $3,250 for agencies that do not have a significant impact on groundwater and a groundwater pumping fee of $1.45 per acre-foot for landowners within agencies pumping groundwater. The Cutler Public Utility District, East Orosi Community Services District, London Community Services District, Orosi Public Utilities District, and Sultana Community Services District, will not be paying the nominal fee individually, and instead are covered by the nominal fee that Tulare County will pay. The fee was approved at the GSA board meeting following the public hearing. The board recently added an environmental seat to the Stakeholder Committee and is looking to fill that seat, contact Chad Wegley if you are interested in joining. email@example.com
James ID: Haven’t heard anything new.
North Fork Kings: The GSA is moving forward with having a Prop 218 election and will be having a public hearing on the proposed assessment rate on May 9 at 5:30 pm at the Riverdale Memorial Hall located at 3085 W. Whitney Ave, Riverdale 93656. The GSA board will now also be meeting bi-monthly on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 5:30 pm at the Riverdale Community Education Center Board Room, 3160 W. Mt. Whitney Ave., Riverdale, Ca 93656.
Central Kings (Consolidated ID): Working with Provost & Pritchard to find overdraft for their GSA and P&P is also working to prepare a feasibility study for a Prop 218 election.
South Kings GSA: Haven’t heard anything new.
North Kings River GSA: Haven’t heard anything new.
McMullin group: Provost and PRitchard has been working to develop plan chapted and has sent the chapter on groundwater conditions to the technical advisory committee for review.
The subbasin was awarded $1.5 million through DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant. The funds will support the MOU and the remaining amount will be split evenly amongst the 3 GSAs. The subbasin management team had their first meeting on January 30th where they discussed the structure of that meeting space including establishing a rotating chair where each GSA would take turns facilitating for 2 months. The management team is also considering partnering with Standford to undertake an electromagnetic survey using SkyTEM, which is a technology where an airplane flies over a field with a magnetic radar to capture the difference in conductivity. The difference in conductivity is then used to identify and map out areas of the ground, both shallow and very deep, that are confined/ unconfined. Stanford already mapped out parts of Tulare Irrigation District. This is expensive technology but DWR is interested in seeing how accurate this technology so they are offering to subsidize most of the costs leaving the Kaweah subbasin the remaining amount of 300K. DWR is also doing pilot SkyTEM projects in SLO County, Bute County, & Indian Wells County and is aiming to fly over the entire central valley and make this data publicly available in the future. For now, Kaweah is debating whether to pay for this considering the information will not be available by 2020 but would be helpful for future GSP versions.
Mid-Kaweah: GEI Consultants are currently working to develop their GSP. They are working with Santec to develop their communication and engagement plan and are currently in the process of undertaking a series of stakeholder interviews. The draft plan will be ready for review/approval soon.
Greater Kaweah: The GSA will be advertising about the availability of the Executive Director position soon and their goal is to have an ED in place by June/July. Santec is also doing their outreach plan. They are still working to finalize a contract with GEI.
East Kaweah: Lindmoore ID was chosen to do the administrative tasks of the GSA and they have hired a assistant. They have approved a living document version of their stakeholder communication and engagement plan and Provost & Pritchard are still working on GSA groundwater conditions.
Tule Subbasin: The Tule Subbasin was also awarded $1.5 million through the Sustainable Groundwater Management Gran. This award will cover the costs of developing a subbasin groundwater flow model, groundwater monitoring network, and a land subsidence monitoring network. The group is working on their coordination agreement that would set agreed on standards for how each GSA would address specific criteria in their GSPs. There has been a lot of discussion at the subbasin coordination group whether methodologies to measure groundwater quality and land subsidence in each individual GSP should be included in the coordination agreement or be addressed in a separate document. At the last meeting Thomas Harder prepared a presentation of the groundwater flow model being used, MODFLOW-OWHM “One Water Hydrologic Model”, which is the model code that the USGS is using to revise the Central Valley Hydrologic Model (CVHM). They have identified an overdraft of 118,000 a/f for the subbasin. Harder is currently working on the groundwater monitoring plan and the goal is to have that ready by August 2018.
Lower Tule River Irrigation District: The GSA has been reviewing and approving draft chapters of plans. Their board has approved chapters on: water measurements & metering, waterbanking at the groundwater level, and groundwater credit transfers within a GSA. They are currently reviewing chapters on: transitional groundwater pumping, landowner surface water brought into the GSA, and district level groundwater recharge credits.
Pixley Irrigation District: Pixley ID and LTRID meeting monthly at a groundwater planning commission meeting. See LTRID update.
Eastern Tule GSA: At a January GSA meeting they decided to create a closed ad-hoc committee to start drafting the plan. Since they are using the Young water market model, their GSP draft has already been created, they are going chapter by chapter and adding relevant local information. 2-3 members from each of the stakeholder and executive committee volunteered and were appointed to this ad-hoc committee to begin meeting once weekly and working through the GSP. In theory, the ad-hoc committee will then bring what they consider "difficult or controversial" issues back to the Stakeholder committee for consideration to move up the committees to the board for consideration. What criteria the ad-hoc committee will use to determine what issues are "controversial" enough to discuss in the committee/board meetings is not clear. The order of their meetings will now flow like: closed ad-hoc committee—> stakeholder committee—> executive committee —> GSA board meeting.
Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District: They are hosting a stakeholder outreach meeting regarding land subsidence and transitional pumping on February 23. Land subsidence happens when the ground is over pumped and the land starts sinking below elevation levels. Transitional pumping refers to the gradual reduction of pumping rather than an automatic large reduction in pumping once plans are submitted to DWR. DEID’s biggest concern is land subsidence because they are currently having trouble moving water through canals. They are advocating for a shorter transitional pumping rate (or perhaps no transitional pumping at all --can’t remember) to address land subsidence faster. They will also start translating their monthly newsletter into Spanish soon!
Tri-County GSA: Their technical advisory committee and their stakeholder advisory committee had their first meetings on January 23.
Alpaugh GSA: A merger of Alpaugh GSA and El Rico GSA is currently being considered..
Tulare County GSA: Haven’t heard anything new.
Tulare Lake subbasin: Have not been participating in Tulare Lake Subbasin.
Alpaugh GSA: A merger of Alpaugh GSA and El Rico GSA is currently being considered.
Tri-County GSA: See Tule sub-basin.
Mid-Kings GSA: Nothing new that I know of.
South Fork Kings GSA: The board met at the start of February for a presentation on groundwater modeling by Geosyntec Consultants and to approve an agreement to share data and information with Westlands Water District and North Fork Kings GSA. South Fork Kings GSA, Mid-Kings GSA, El Rico, Southwest GSA, and Tri-County GSA submitted a comment letter to the Kings County Board of Supervisors opposing the proposed groundwater exportation ordinance.
Southwest Kings GSA: South Fork Kings GSA, Mid-Kings GSA, El Rico, Southwest GSA, and Tri-County GSA submitted a comment letter to the Kings County Board of Supervisors opposing the proposed groundwater exportation ordinance.
El Rico GSA: Currently considering including Alpaugh GSA in the El Rico GSA. They put a pause on the Prop 218 elections until/ if the merger with Alpaugh happens. They also submitted their intent to prepare a GSP notice.
Kern subbasin: Have not been participating in the Kern Subbasin.
Westside subbasin: The westside subbasin is completely covered by the Westside GSA.
Westlands Water District GSA: In December they hosted a public workshop on Sustainable Management Criteria and in early February they held a workshop to go over their GSP conceptual outline and on their groundwater management guiding principles.
Disclaimer: The proceeding interpretations and opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of others involved. Additionally, my SGMA knowledge is neither exhaustive nor flawless, if you have any corrections to make to these updates or if you have more information to add, please send me an email and I will send out addendums as needed.
Do you have any questions about this newsletter or the Community Water Leaders Network?
Contact Adriana Renteria at 559-733-0219 or firstname.lastname@example.org